Can life get any more disorganize?  Pro'ly not.  foot-in-mouth  The reasons may seem obvious, but the solutions are less than simple.

Getting your life back to a place that feels normal won't happen overnight.  But, the good news is, that losing "divorce baggage" will make you feel so much better.  Your life will get easier and normal will return.  But, first you need to get your life balanced and organized and we have some great tips to get you started!

Before you get started

If you're recently separated, know the consistent contact with your ex, divorce attorney or mediator is enough to keep you in a constant state of stress. 

Stress doesn’t just go away.  It's like a gauge that with more stressful occurrences, goes up, and with less, it goes down.  The problem is that the gauge usually never gets below the halfway mark during situations like divorce before more stressful situations occur.  This is one reason divorce affects your health and wellness.  

If you are nearing the end of the divorce or entering post-divorce, you may be looking forward to that gauge going down.  In fact, it might.  

There are various Stages of Divorce that most people commonly experience.  It may help to know what stage you're in to determine how much emotional attachment you have to the pain and stress associated with your divorce.  Not only will every spouse, divorce and family differ regarding length of time one will carry negative feelings, but each stage has various aspects that can complicate the recovery from the divorce and failed marriage.

Though you may get through certain stages faster than others, you can't rush through a stage just to get through it.  You need a natural transition towards acceptance and release of each stage.  In most cases a counselor or life coach can help you get through each stage during and after divorce.

Of course divorce is difficult

Notice how you never really hear the excitement in anyone’s questions when asking about your new life since divorce.  Obviously, most people recognize divorce as an unfortunate situation that would be avoided, if at all possible.  Yet, our primary purpose to divorce is to end a bad marriage, in hopes of starting a better life.  So, how do we start it?

Rip it apart

Marriage is like the opposite of the saying about the month of March, "In like a lion, out like a lamb."  Marriage being, "In like a lamb and out like a lion."  Or perhaps each spouse is the lamb and the divorce is a lion.  No matter the analogy, the point is the same.  We go into marriage with blinders on and our heart wide open, usually expecting the best.  

As nearly half of all married couples reach the unfortunate end through divorce, it’s clear many of us don't realize what we're in for when we say, "I do".  

By the time we get to, "I don't...want to be married to this person anymore", our life is usually already in crisis. 

As the divorce develops, it may seem like you're losing control of everything from your emotions to your pocketbook.  Your entire outlook on life may change.  Your world may feel like it's being ripped apart.

Get rid of it

So, from those of us who've been there - done that, we say, "Go with it.  Rip it apart.  There's no better time to make the changes you want to make.  From housing to personal property, changes await.  Mental baggage to body fat, get rid of it."

But, when you rip it apart, remember you’re not filling a void, you're creating a bigger one.  So don’t get caught in the downturn of this process.  Be prepared to replace much of what you remove so that you aren't left feeling even worse.  

If your life seems 50% overloaded, remove about 25% of unproductive clutter and get right to organizing the rest.  Remember your goal isn't to purge the things and relationships that make you feel like, you

Rather, remove the things that are steering you away from your truer self.  The last thing you want is to take so much out of your life that once you're done it feels like you're living in someone else's life.

Expect things to be different, but it should be a better different, not worse.

You may even find that you didn’t have as much excess clutter as you thought.  Rather you were overwhelmed with what you had in the disorganized, unhappy nature you had it.  Once you clear some of it away, you may find that, upon organizing, what's left is worth keeping and worth keeping in order and top of mind.

If you have enough in your life, but it all feels wrong, then purge a bit with immediate emphasis on reorganization.  You may find what caused your life to seem so unbalanced was something small or easily modified.

Fill in the gaps of missing happiness, finance shortages and relationships with new opportunities and renewed outlook.  Make new friends, take some classes, increase your physical activity, get a side hustle.  Otherwise, depression can seep into your life and get rather comfortable while you are very uncomfortable.   The more depressed you get, the more the depression and your disorganization induce stress and anxiety.  All of which damage your life, health and well-being.  

WARNING

Another cheesy analogy about to commence to make an important point

Remember the energy you spend getting rid of all this baggage can be overwhelming; make sure you know what it takes (time, money, effort, motivation) to get things put back together.  Whatever you do, never, ever rip it apart unless you have a plan to get things put back together in a reasonable amount of time (figuratively and actually). 

If you don't, this can lead to a serious reminder that things are not okay and that you're stuck in the seventh stage of divorce (letting go).  When life is cluttered, you can always purge, as needed (like running downhill).  But when you're thoughts and actions center around consistent purging (e.g. continuous dieting, bad relationships, moving, job changes), it's much harder to replace what's missing (like trekking uphill), to make life right again.

This is especially true when too much time has passed between ripping it apart and putting it all back together. The kinetic energy of the downhill is no longer there to help you get uphill.  Capiche?

If you feel you are not able to stop letting go, read our introduction article in the 2020, Summer/Fall Issue of Starting Over Magazine, "Starting Over" for tips.

Erase

How do you erase sadness, anger and blame?  

After your breakup, you may still have some residual pain that doesn’t go away.  Truth is, you may never completely eradicate some of the emotions linked to your divorce.   Some contribute to your wisdom and maturity, affecting your relationship skills and relationship in the future.  "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

Don't lose yourself in the process

Once all the rotten stuff is gone, no matter how much you purge to get rid of the guilt, anger and pain, you may still feel lousy. Time is the most effective, reliable release of such pain.  It allows the many emotions associated with the divorce to lessen, naturally.   

But, most of us want more proactive ways to get this stuff out of our life sooner-than-later.  It gets in the way of our happiness, success and progress in processing each stage of divorce.  

Proactive ways to downgrade the emotional component of bad memories include adding new good stuff.  It lessens the emotional value of those memories.  They may always be bad memories, but they won't affect you the same way. 

Add positive people, activities and perspective into your life.  It may especially help to work through this stage with the help of a life coach or therapist. 

Do you need to express your grief?  Ya, but don’t let it become your new identity.  Don’t let your pain and sadness take over your life.  Find new, better outlets and activities to shed your frustration and grief.  Exercise, make new friends, improve yourself, organize your household or improve your home.

The immediate break will cause an immediate high percentage of sadness in your life.  The sooner you reclaim your life the less this pain will imprint on your identity.

Organize

Now put it into perspective.  Get your stuff and life priorities put together.   

Decide who you want to be, where you belong and how you want to live.  This is your time to become somebody that can find happiness despite setbacks.  Someone with the knowledge to avoid problems in the future.  Once you're done with your reorganization, you'll know more, have less baggage and a better chance to explore the possibilities. Your view will become clearer and more positive.  You'll improve your chances of finding yourself amidst all the clutter in your life.

The process to organize your life starts at home.  The system to do so empowers you to change your entire mindset in order to become a more efficient person.  In other words, the first step in having clearer, more structured thinking and life planning is to organize things and places you use the most.

Not only does this provide an opportunity to improve your life, but it provides a therapeutic means to combat the post-divorce blues and boredom.  If your kids are with your ex, use the time to start a new organization project.  It provides an attainable goal, that when complete, provides a feeling of accomplishment and more organized life!

Home M.I.S. (Most Important Stuff) laughing

Start in your home office.  It's the financial heartbeat of your household.  Get your finances together.  Review current expenditures and determine what can be paid off or consolidated.  Get household bills on an autopay option.  Start paying your house payment once every two weeks if allowed by your mortgage company, to shave off about 4-7 years from your mortgage.  

If you have 30% equity in your home you should request the removal of your private mortgage insurance.  

Get your utilities on a budget billing to adequately plan a monthly budget.  

Determine a monthly amount of money you can auto-draft into an investment account.  The investment account should be returning an annual return of approximately 12-20%.  If you are in your 20’s; your investments should return higher percentages.  If you are in your 30’s and 10-15%, from ages 40-65 lower risk/probable lower return.  

Get your household on a good, reasonable budget that you'll stick with throughout the year.  Visit the 2020 DMK Budget Series for budget and savings apps, along with helpful tips and ideas to get your money in order.

Get your office organized and decluttered.  Get physical file folders for ease of use and for the prevention of computer hackers to access personal financial information stored on your home computer.  Begin a book of passwords .  Secure files and your password book in a safe location in order to facilitate fast retrieval of family finance and important information.  

If you fear an emergency (such as a fire) may compromise your important data, then you can have a second book or files in a separate, secure location like a safe deposit box at a local bank or credit union or a fireproof safe.

Organize a desk where you can keep your "home brain".  Set-it up according to your "functionality style" and that would make everything easy to find and keep organized.  Maintain it as only your desk (kid restricted) so that nothing gets moved or lost when you're not using it.

Kitchen

Your family center.  The place to talk, cook, eat and argue.  

Get rid of all the old pots and pans that are never used.  Develop a system for easier meals in the pantry, fridge and freezer and organize a place to store them. Purchase food containers for food storage of homemade foods and leftovers. Your goal will be to reduce your food spending on processed, prepackaged foods by organizing your meals, leftovers and baked goods.  

Clean the crap out from your junk drawer and under your sink on days that you get bored.  Crank up some tunes and clean it all up.  Organize what’s left with a drawer organizer and containers for things like nails, rubber bands, pens, etc.   Keep your main daily needs for kitchen utilities under the sink and the rest of it should be put away in your mud room or other utility area.

If you have kids, get them a schedule of chores and hang an age appropriate chore list on the fridge for them to check-off daily or weekly according to the schedule.  It's everyone's home, everyone should take pride in maintaining it.  The sooner your kids get started with chores, the less they will gripe about it.

Bathrooms

How many unused products are under your bathroom sink or in your linen closet.  Again, if you haven’t done this yet, get rid of the stuff you don’t use. 

Now, go to the store and get a few things that will make caring for your appearance a good experience with good results.  One major reason for improving your home is to provide a place for your own self-improvements and life management.  So, don't put your home before yourself.  Improve both for life success.

Utilize organizers for the top of the vanity and under the sink.  Get everything in a place that makes getting ready for work or school easier and more convenient.  Time is valuable.  Choose items that make everything you do more efficient, productive and easier.

The organization will make your mornings less stressful and further your feelings of accomplishment.  It may seem like a small thing to do, but showing your family members you care about making their life easier too, will mean more than a new caddy for a hairbrush and gel.

It’s important to show yourself and your family that you can keep the household functioning. The entire family is struggling during and after divorce.  Any help you give them demonstrates you understand and care how they feel. 

It further proves you can be an effective leader to keep things going in an organized and efficient manner.   This can improve their respect for you, much needed as they become preteens and teens. 

You are the leader of your household and family.  So lead.

Since everyday presents new challenges, the best way to lead efficiently is to get everything operating independently without constant help or micro-management.  Little things like this, make a big difference.

The goal here is to choose areas you utilize daily and not only organize it to make life easier, but to also feel the balance and relief as a physical example of reorganization in your life.  This will help you establish your ability to keep life running fluidly in the face of adversity.

Each little step to revamp your life can take you up to the greatest attributions of your lifetime. Organize one little drawer, organize a new business, develop a new plan for the rest of your life.  No matter what it is, just own it, simplify it, organize it and move on to the next project.  That's life.  That's organized living. 

-OurDMK.com



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